The fair was broken into two parts. The first part was held in an auditorium seating over 700 including Kaisei students, parents, teachers and members of the media. Yanagisawa-san, the head of Kaisei, gave an introductory speech while Masahiro Fukuhara of IGS talked about the merits of studying abroad. A representative from each college then gave a short talk about their university and what made them unique. Toshi Baily spoke on behalf of Princeton emphasizing how Princeton is not only a top research institution, but also a school which teaches undergraduates the ability to ask important questions through original independent research. Toshi emphasized how education up until high school can often be more about answering questions posed by others, but how at Princeton, students are encouraged to build their ability to ask the important questions through close work with their advisors and other professors.
In the second part, each school was assigned a classroom to introduce their school in more depth. Each school did three 30-minute sessions so that students and parents could attend more than one school’s presentation. We passed out materials kindly provided to us from the Princeton Admissions Office and played videos from the Admissions’ website, and each of the four Princeton Alumni — Hidekazu Oki, Peyton Bowman, Ahn Nguyen and Toshi Baily, gave a brief talk about their experience at Princeton. Each Alum talked about what made Princeton a special experience for them — whether it was interaction with classmates or Professors. Princeton’s sessions were packed each time with some parents standing outside the room listening in. One of the teachers afterwards jokingly said that he “could not get into the Princeton classroom without a crowbar.” Students and parents asked many questions such as how to pay for Princeton or would their children come back to Japan after Princeton. Kaisei teachers held a thank you session for the college alums afterwards and we talked about many issues including how Japan can send more students abroad.
Ed Rogers, Chair of the Japan Alumni Schools Committee, and Toshi Baily first met with Yanagisawa-san, the head of Kaisei, in December 2012 and suggested introducing Kaisei students to Princeton. Yanagisawa-san, a former professor at Harvard and Tokyo University, is regarded by many as a thought leader in Japanese education. Yanagisawa-san liked our idea, but also suggested inviting more colleges and making it into a broader college fair. Our idea then progressed to become one of the biggest events held by Kaisei. Yanagisawa-san was excited by this first step and said that he was grateful that Princeton approached him with this idea.
Again, special thanks to the following alums for their great help at the Fair!
Also a huge thank you to Ed Rogers for helping initiate this whole discussion, talking with Yanagisawa-san and coordinating with the Admissions office.
All in all, a fantastic outcome and a great thank you to all involved. It was a lot of fun and served a noble cause. We look forward to working with you more in the future.
Please note that if Princeton Alumni would like to help get great students from Japan to attend Old Nassau, Ed Rogers always welcomes volunteers to help with interviews in Japan!